School: Cedarville Elementary
Grade teaching: Third grade
Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education with a reading endorsement from Ball State University; master's degree in elementary education with a focus in reading and literacy instruction from Ball State.
Years teaching: 14 years
City born: Fort Wayne
Current hometown: Fort Wayne
Family: My husband, Andy, and I have been married for almost nine years. We have a 2-year-old son, Joseph.
Last book read: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” (to my class) and “Where the Wild Things Are” (to my son which is currently his favorite and we read it multiple times a day).
Favorite teacher(s): Mrs. Mason, my second-grade teacher at Glenwood Park Elementary and Ms. O'Riley, my yearbook/journalism teacher at Snider. These were two of the most memorable and influential teachers in my education.
Favorite class in school: Yearbook
Favorite teaching memory: I have several special teaching memories, but the one that stands out to me the most was a note given to me by a student early on in my teaching career. The note read, “I hope to one day grow up to be a teacher JUST like you.” I think it was at this moment I realized I was not only teaching my students to learn, but I was also making an impact in their lives outside of school. The way I build relationships, make connections, and the character traits I display are influencing my students more than I realize.
Favorite extracurricular activity: Being anywhere where it is warm and there's a beach.
What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future? My advice would be to never stop being kind. “Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” – Blaise Pascal
Recommended by: Chrystal Dowty, speech-language pathologist
Reason for recommendation: “The kindness and gentleness of this third-grade teacher is astonishing. She has a gentle manner of maintaining order to her third-grade classroom, which embodies high standards but is met with grace. Her students adore her, which is evident whenever a parent is in her room. They respect her because she shows each student that she cares about them. As a parent, there is nothing in this world more valuable than a teacher who treats your child with kindness while educating them to a high standard. My husband and I are endlessly thankful for Amber Firestine this year. She is a top-notch teacher, who inspires a love for learning in an environment that is not stressful for children.”
Scholarships and grants
• Walgreens donated $8,000 to the Manchester University Pharmacy Program to support diversity initiatives and scholarships.
• Applications are due Feb. 6 for R.I.S.E. America, a program that will award $10,000 grants to 50 high school theater programs. Go to www.NBC.com/Rise to apply.
• Soul Food Fest is set for 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Whitney Commons Café at Trine University. The menu includes fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens with smoked ham hocks and bacon, black-eyed peas, corn bread, salads, peach cobbler and sweet potato pecan pie. The event, which costs $6.51 for ages 5 to 12 and $13.01 for adults, precedes the 27th anniversary celebration for Trine University's Multicultural Student Organization. That program, which also celebrates Black History Month and the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., begins at 7 p.m. in Ryan Concert Hall in the campus' T. Furth Center for Performing Arts.
• Thursday will mark 50 years since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his address, “The Future of Integration,” at Manchester University, and the school has planned events to honor his legacy. The Rev. Timothy L. Lake, senior pastor at Union Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, will speak at 10 a.m. about King's legacy in the Fort Wayne campus's auditorium, 10627 Diebold Road. These events will be on the North Manchester campus: a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center at 2 p.m. at College Avenue and East Street; a reception opening the monthlong exhibit, “Bending Toward Justice,” from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Link Gallery; and the annual MLK Remembrance and Rededication Ceremony at 7 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium. The program will feature keynote speaker the Rev. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and reflections from alumni who lunched with King. The events are free and open to the public. More MLK 50 events are planned throughout the academic year. Go to www.manchester.edu/mlk50 for more information.
• Eight pastors earned a doctor of ministry from Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne in 2017 – more than in any other year in recent memory. The program has rolling application reviews and enrollment, making it possible for pastors to balance studies with ministerial duties. For more information, go to www.ctsfw.edu/D-min or contact DMin@ctsfw.edu or 260-452-2143.
• Registration is open for the 19th annual Middle School Bridge Design Competition, Feb. 17 at Concordia Lutheran High School. Middle school students can enter. Go to www.clhscadets.com/apps/pages/Bridge-Competition for more information.
• HoneyCuts Salon presented a $1,000 check on behalf of Bishop Luers student Peyton Howe to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, to raises money for and awareness of childhood cancer causes. Howe, a kicker for Luers, dedicated his senior season to the organization, and HoneyCuts collected donations throughout the football season.
Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email email@example.com.
To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the desired publication date.